Getting Tough

I've had my first 'tough' camera. The idea was to find something suitable to take sea kayaking, so waterproof, generally rugged and easy to operate. The camera chosen is the latest model in the Olympus Tough range, the TG-5.

Olympus Tough TG-5

What came before

In looking for waterproof cameras I've tried a few different approaches over the years. At one stage I had a waterproof housing for an old Canon Ixus and that worked quite well at the time. However only a few cameras have the option of a dedicated housing and they can be expensive.

More recently I took the approach of buying a non-waterproof camera and placing it in a waterproof case. The idea was that would give me a wider choice of cameras and would give a lower overall cost. I chose a Panasonic Lumix.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8

Panasonic provide some good electronics in their Lumix range and the camera benefited from a Leica design lens. It was easy to find a waterproof case.

Lumix in Aquapac case

However it proved tricky to operate the camera through the case, care was needed to ensure the lens was in the correct position and if shooting video the microphone didn't pick up sound well. Far from ideal but ok for just occasional use.

Why choose the Tough

Having made the decision to move to a compact and rugged waterproof camera the choice of models was limited. The Olympus Tough tends to consistently score well in numerous reviews but the decider was that it can shoot raw files (ORF, needs Lightroom 6.12 or later, Capture One pro 10 or later). Olympus had also taken the bold decision to limit the resolution to 12 Mp in order to improve high ISO performance.

It has a number of other useful features. The HD 1080 video it produces is poor in my opinion but it has the option for 4k video which looks much better (though still heavily compressed). In view of the options for 4k and raw it made sense to use a fast high capacity memory card. The TG-5 only takes a UHS type I card so a SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC Memory Card, 95 MB/s, Class 10, U3, V30 - 64GB was chosen (and formatted when first inserted).

Another nice feature is the option to use the iShare remote app. When setting this up you just scan a QR code displayed on the back of the camera, very easy and so far has proved reliable when running from Android.

TG-5 showing Wi-Fi connection screen

The camera has GPS built in, it can geo-tag photos but also has the option to produce track logs and at the press of a button can be used for navigation with a compass display.

TG-5 showing compass display

It also lets the front LED act as a torch.

Example photos

I've yet to take the camera kayaking and so far have just been getting familiar with its operation. Here's a couple of example shots.

Siamese cat

Highland cow, Glen Lonan

Oban bay

Oban bay has been the nearest I've come to water so far, I  look forward to using the camera more over the coming months (update 2018-06-12 see post on how the camera performed on a kayaking trip).

More details of the camera, technical specs etc, can be found on the Olympus site:


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